There is a rich tradition of Gharanas in classical Hindustani music. The music Gharanas are also called styles. These schools or Gharanas have their basis in the traditional mode of musical training and education. Every Gharana has its own distinct features. The main area of difference between Gharanas is the manner in which the notes are sung. The concept of a Guru- Shishya leads to the development of Gharanas. The Gharanas emerge from the creative style of a genius, who gives existing structures a totally new approach, form and interpretation. The new approach, form and interpretation apply to include the tone of the voice, the pitch, the inflexions and the intonations, and the specific application of the various nuances. Let's have a quick look at popular Gharanas of Hindustani classical music.
Gwalior Gharana - This is the oldest among all the Khayal Gayaki (vocal) styles. The distinctive feature of this style of singing has been noted as its lucidity and simplicity. Founders - Ustad Hassu Khan, Ustad Haddu Khan, Ustad Nathu Khan Exponents - Bal Krishna BaIchal Karanjikar, Vishnu Digambar Paluskar, Pt Omkarnath Thakur, Veena Sahasrabuddhe & Malini Rajurkar
Agra Gharana - The Agra Gharana places great importance on developing forcefulness and deepness in the voice so that the notes are powerful and resonant. Founders - Haji Sujan Khan, Ustad Ghagghe Khuda Baksh Exponents - The important singers of this Gharana are Faiyyaz Khan, Latafat Hussein Khan and Dinkar Kakini.
Kirana Gharana - It derives its name from the birthplace of Abdul Kharim Khan of Kirana near Kurukshetra. In the Kirana style of singing, the swara is used to create an emotional mood by means of elongation and use of Kana-s. Founders - Abdul Karim Khan and Abdul Wahid Khan Exponents - Hirabhai Barodekar, Begum Akhtar, Bhimsen Joshi, Gangubai Hangal and Prabha Atre.
Jaipur - Atrauli Gharana- The most distinctive feature of the Jaipur Gharana can be best described as its complex and melodic form which arises out of the involutedly and undulating phrases that comprise the piece. Founders - Ustad Alladiya Khan Exponents - Alladiya Khan, Mallikarjun Mansur, Kesarbhai Kerkar, Kishori Amonkar, Shruti Sadolikar, Padma Talwalkar and Ashwini Bhide Deshpande.
Rampur Sahaswan Gharana - The Rampur Sahaswan Gharana there is a stress on the clarity of swara in this style and the development and elaboration of the raga is done through a stepwise progression. Founders - Ustad Inayat Khan Exponents - Ghulam Mustafa Khan, Ustad Nissar Hussain Khan, Ustad Rashid Khan, Sulochana and Brihaspati.
Patiala Gharana - Patiala Gharana is regarded as an offshoot of the Delhi Gharana. The Patiala Gharana is characterized by the use of greater rhythm play and by Layakari with the abundant use of Bols, particularly Bol-tans. Founders - Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Ustad Ali Baksh Exponents - The major singers of the Patiala Gharana are Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ajoy Chakravarti, Raza Ali Khan, Beghum Akhtar, Nirmala Deni, Naina Devi, Parveen Sultana and others.
Delhi Gharana - The Delhi Ghaana was represented by Tanras Khan and Shabbu Khan. The highlights of Delhi Gharana are pleasing vistaar and exquisite compositions. Founders - Ustad Mamman Khan Exponents - Some of the notable exponents of Delhi Gharana are Chand Khan, Nasir Ahmed Khan, Usman Khan, Iqbal Ahmed Khan and Krishna Bisht.
Bhendi Bazaar Gharana - The most distinctive feature of the Bhendi Bazaar Gharana is the presentation of Khayal, which is open voice, using Akar. There is a stress on breath-control and singing of long passages in one breath is highly regarded in this Gharana. Founders - Ustad Chajju Khan Exponents - The important singers of this Gharana are Ustad Aman Ali Khan, Shashikala Koratkar and Anjanibai Malpekar.
Benaras Gharana - The Benaras Gharana evolved as a result of great lilting style of khayal singing known by Thumri singers of Benaras and Gaya. Founders - Pt Gopal Mishra Exponents - The chief exponents of the Benaras Gharana are Rajan Mishra, Sajan Mishra, Girija Devi and others.
Mewati Gharana - The Mewati Gharana gives importance to developing the mood of the raga through the notes forming it and its style is Bhava Pradhan. It also gives equal importance to the meaning of the text. Founders - The founder of Mewati Gharana was Ghagge Nazir Khan. Exponents - The exponents of the Mewati Gharana are Pandit Jasraj, Moti Ram, Mani Ram, Sanjeev Abhyankar and others.